Woman died due to salmonella ‘after First Communion meal’

Sandra O’Brien (55) contracted food poisoning at Dublin function, inquest hears

A woman who contracted food poisoning at a First Communion function died due to salmonella, an inquest has heard.

Investigations into the outbreak are continuing, the short inquest hearing into the death of Sandra O’Brien (55) heard.

Ms O’Brien, from Rivervalley, Swords, Co Dublin, died on May 21st last following the consumption of food prepared at O’Dwyers pub, Strand Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin.

The HSE and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland are preparing files on the outbreak. Reports will be filed by both authorities to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) once investigations are complete.


"It's an investigation into the outbreak in relation to compliance with food safety legislation. We are not investigating the death of a particular person," Noel Donnelly, principal environmental health officer in Fingal, north Co Dublin, told the inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court.

The inquest heard that an autopsy was carried out by pathologist Avril Cullen and the cause of death was acute myocarditis as a consequence of salmonella infection, with previous myocarditis as a contributory factor.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and can be caused by a viral infection or an immune response, reducing the heart’s ability to pump and causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.

The catering company who provided the food served on the day of the First Communion function, Flanreil Food Services, was represented at the inquest by solicitor Elaine Byrne.


After the incident, the HSE said it became aware of more than 50 people who were supplied with food by the company over the weekend of May 13th and 14th last who became ill.

Insp Oliver Woods applied for a six-month adjournment of the inquest to allow for investigations to continue, and the Coroner adjourned the inquest until November 8th next.

“If there are any updates in the meantime we will inform you,” Mr Woods told the court.